Objective: Students will understand the geographic concepts of longitude, latitude, coordinates, distance, direction and mapping. Students will gain hands-on knowledge of the geographic tools used to measure these concepts.

Time required: 2 class periods for GPS portion of the unit. 3 class periods if GoogleEarth is incorporated for mapping coordinates.

Materials needed: Geocaching containers, GPS units, worksheets, pencils; computers with GoogleEarth for the third class period

Prep: Type up geographic literacy questions for containers, label & load containers, place containers (Classwork on the basic geographic concepts of longitude, latitude, coordinates, direction, distance and maps would precede these activities.)

Activities – Day 1 – Concept review and GPS receiver demonstration. The teacher will conduct a short review of basic geographic concepts to ensure that the students understand the essential ideas. Then, the teacher will demonstrate the proper use and care of the GPS receiver. The buttons and menus of the GPS receiver will be reviewed with the students. GPS receiver practice – In small groups, the students will practice utilizing the GPS receivers to find specific locations/coordinates. Emphasis will be placed on the following questions as students are practicing:
1. How much did the coordinates change from one point to the next?
2. How far did you go from one point to the next?
3. What direction did you travel to go from one point to the other?
Students should record their answers to these questions as they move from coordinate to coordinate.

Activities – Day 2 – Team GPS fieldwork. Split the students into small groups. These teams need to find the containers at each set of coordinates. Each container will have a question regarding longitude, latitude, coordinates, direction or distance. In addition, students will need to note the coordinates, distance and direction for each segment of their journey.

Activities – Day 3 – Mapping. As a culminating activity, students will plot the coordinates into GoogleEarth and generate a map of their journey.

Strategies: Individual student work – reading information from book and answering basic geographic literacy questions to prepare for the lesson. Question and answer – teacher quizzes students on basic geographic literacy concepts. Demonstration of GPS procedures – teacher-led demonstration to introduce GPS technology. Practice and Perform – student teams utilize GPS receivers to locate various coordinates. Mapping – students map coordinates in GoogleEarth to examine their path utilizing GPS and computer technologies.

Assessments: Informal – Question and answer review to ensure basic knowledge; teacher observations of group practice on Day 1. Formal - Team geocaching activity answers from Day 2. Formal - GoogleEarth map with coordinates tagged from Day 3.

Closure: Short review of geographic concepts (Q&A); Show finished map with coordinates tagged; obtain student feedback regarding GPS technology and activity.

PA Geography Standard 7.1 – Geographic Literacy: Analyze data and issues using appropriate geographic tools; includes coordinates (longitude and latitude), mapping, spatial elements, and directions (cardinal and intermediate).

ISTE NETS for Students 2007 Standard 2 – Communication & Collaboration: Students use digital media to communicate and work collaboratively to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.

ISTE NETS for Students 2007 Standard 3 – Research & Information Fluency: Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.

ISTE NETS for Students 2007 Standard 5b – Digital Citizenship: Students exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning and productivity.

ISTE NETS for Students 2007 Standard 6 – Technology Operations & Concepts: Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems and operations; students understand and use technology systems